Portrait By Kiva Bay

Dax Murray

Book reviews, coding thoughts, feminist rants, and occasional cats.

On Feminists and Men


There is a lot of confusion about the relationship between feminism, and men. Some mistakenly assert that since feminism is about advancing women's rights, it must therefore also be about taking away men's rights. These people would have you believe that the gender wars are a zero sum game. In order for women to gain rights, men must be deprived of rights. There isn't a limited supply of rights. Rights are inherent, and belong to everyone. Women, in attempting to gain rights, are acquiring the same rights that men have had all along, so that men and women have the same rights. Feminists aren't attempting to take rights away from men.

Women seek to have bodily autonomy, just as men do. This, to some, may seem like the "right" for a man to own a woman's body is being taken away, but there is no inherent right to own someone. It wasn't a right. So it isn't something that is being deprived of them. An analogy is the fight in parts of the queer movement to gain legal marriage recognition. Some religious sects assert this is taking away their rights to religious liberty. They define that liberty as the right to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples. Again, there is no inherent right to discriminate, so this isn't a right that is being taken away.

What might feel like a loss of rights to some men, is actually an erosion of privilege.

Feminists don't hate men, feminists don't want there to be distinctions between the sexes that grant preferential treatment to one or the other. In my feminism, I would prefer there is no gender or a gender spectrum comprising of more than just two genders. To be stuck in a gender box assigned at birth, with only one other option is entirely limiting, and leads to situations like patriarchy, where one gender is preferred over the other. Many gender traditionalists will say that women and men are separate, but equal. We have different jobs, and skills, and neither is preferred, but both must work in harmony. I call bullshit. The labor that is assigned to women, that is home making and child rearing, are important, but the system we live in only pays lip service to their importance, and clearly places more esteem onto the labor of men (as it's paid). Women are to be quiet and demur, and men are to be confident and loud. The double standards are endless.

However, feminism realizes that no persons full expression can be confined into the demarcated genders. Patriarchy says men do not cry, and women are not emotionally equipped to deal with politics and war. Feminism says men absolutely can and should cry if they need to cry. Feminism says fathers should not be shamed for wanting to be stay-at-home dads, feminism says fathers can be caring, involved and nurturing fathers without being shamed or seen as creepy. Feminism says men are responsible human beings capable of respecting their fellow human beings and treating them accordingly.

Patriarchy says men are irresponsible animal who cannot control themselves, and must therefore be allowed to rape without impunity. Patriarchy says men cannot be held responsible for their own actions, and therefore women must be responsible for them.

Feminists think very highly of men. Patriarchy doesn't.